Cracks In The Mask

A beam of sunlight enters the classroom, falling upon the teacher’s desk. The way the dust motes seem to dance around in the light truly fascinates me. It is as if fairies have come from a faraway land, just to lighten the sombre mood of the classroom and spread colour all around. How friendly of the fairies, and the light that was nice enough to carry them all the way here!

I feel a light tap on the shoulder. Turning around, I expect to see a friend. Instead, I find nothing but the bored face of a classmate, buried in his textbook as he snored away silently, completely oblivious to his surroundings. Oh well, it must have been my imagination. Why would someone tap my shoulder in the middle of class, and why would they tap it only once?

I turn around, hoping to see the fairies in the sunlight again, but someone had closed the gap between the curtains, putting an end to the fairy ball. My eyes wander around the classroom, settling on an especially fascinating spot, where the drywall was peeling off. I see it come to life, dancing as it weaves intricate patterns in the air. Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

The bell went off, snapping me out of my reverie. I quickly gather my books, packing them into my bag. I take out a novel by my favourite author before standing up and moving out of my chair. As I move out, I feel my foot brush against something. I glance down, and am surprised to see a paper ball. I pick it up, opening the ball and reading the contents.

“Go back to fantasy land idiot!”, it says, in what seems to be rushed handwriting. I feel a twinge of sympathy in my heart. Poor child. It would hurt to be the one this letter was addressed to. I quickly crumple the paper up again, stuffing it into my pocket. The subject of this heartless letter would not need to suffer today.

I walk out of the grey, dreary classroom, and into… the drearier hallway. The paint seems to have faded away completely, leaving nothing but the traces of hard work left behind by the workers who had put their heart and soul into building this school. I sigh, before making an impulsive decision-today would be the day I would go out and meet my friends in the playground. It had been very long, after all.

I walk down the stairs and onto the ground floor, whistling happily. The hallway seems to have been renovated recently; the bright red paint on the walls stands out against the rest of the dull school.  In fact, it seemed to be brighter and airier than before! Maybe they installed a few new windows? Who knows?

I walk towards the bathroom, and hear two voices, belonging to my classmates. Subconsciously I hide in a corner, listening in on their conversation.  

“Hey, you know that kid you threw the paper ball at? Doesn’t he just creep you out?! Ugh! I heard he has no life outside those weird novels he keeps reading. God, how creepy.”

“Seriously? What a loser, loner kid. He just needs to not be so weird. Hey, by the way, did you catch that new song…”

I feel bad for the subject. What a lonely existence. Of course, there is nothing wrong with novels, but he has no friends? My heart really does ache for him.

I walk out, turning left and into the final stretch of the hallway that is the entrance to the playground. It seems like this area hasn’t been renovated, since everything seems dark and lifeless, despite the abundance of light from the outdoors.

I stop for a moment, for some reason. I wonder why-

The bell rings, signalling the end of the break. I turn away from the playground, and run back to the classroom.

My eyes sting. The sudden adjustment between dark hallways and the outdoors isn’t to be taken lightly, after all.

I feel something wet drop down my cheek. Oh my, the light made my eyes water.

I ignore the sudden deluge of tears, no doubt caused by the bright and malevolent light, and wonder about the boy they threw the paper ball at, and the boy who they made fun of in the bathroom.

I hope he makes friends soon enough.

Oh, I should slow down. My watering eyes are blurring my vision, making it hard to see in this colourless, drab hallway. I don’t want to trip and fall, after all.

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